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Technology: For Everything Tech

Welcome, fellow Google+ User!

This Collection focuses on a broad range of technology related news, tips, opinions, and commentary. This may include, but is not necessarily limited to, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mobile Devices, Personal Computers, Wearables, Apps, Browsers, Programming, Quantum Computing, Nanotechnology, and more.

Go here to Follow my Profile to keep up with all my Posts: https://plus.google.com/+EliFennell/

Or go here to Follow any or all of my Collections: https://plus.google.com/+EliFennell/palette

To receive Notifications from this (or any) Collection, tap the bell so you won't miss a single update (you can just as easily turn them off later).

And follow the Science Collection below for all my latest Science Posts and updates!

Enjoy your Streams, fellow Plussers!

~ +Eli Fennell​​
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These 2018 RobotArt Entries Show AI Is Getting Good at Painting Artwork

The annual RobotArt Art Contest challenges contestants to push the limits of what Robotcs and AI can do in the visual creative domain, and 2018's entries show just how far the field has come in recent years.

While none of these works will as yet threaten to take the place of the artwork of great human master painters as yet, and are in many ways merely derivative of our own great works, nonetheless it is becoming clear that the mastery of making brush strokes on canvas for creative purposes will not truly be limited to our own artists for very much longer.

In addition to producing some noteworthy entries this year, the 2018 RobotArt Contest will also be the first years for which they will exhibit artwork from the contest itself for sale, thereby demonstrating viable commercial demand (assuming, of course, that anyone puts up the money to buy them).

#AI #ArtificialIntelligence #MachineLearning
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The Life Changing Reason Google Added Morse Code to Gboard

Google recently added Morse Code support to the Google Gboard keyboard app, first for Android and then iOS (where it is integrated with the Google app for iOS). At first blush, this may just seem like the sort of quixotic geekiness we expect from a company that once offered the value of Pi * 1bn in a patent bidding war, and added Barrel Roll Easter Eggs to their Search Engine.

In reality, though, this simple addition will be immensely empowering for a particular segment of the population: certain individuals with physical limitations, such as due to cerebral palsey, and who already use Morse Code technology to communicate.

There are a number of such individuals, in fact, who have until now struggled with the absence of any standard sorts of technologies and components to enable them to use this. By integrating Morse Code into Gboard, Google has now made this incalculably easier, by making any old smartphone able to run Gboard into the computerized brain of their communication equipment and even the virtual voice of the individual.

Often, talk of new technologies being empowering is the sort of boilerplate moonshine peddled by Silicon Valley Techtopians to Angel Investors. This is one case where the term is well and truly earned. This is truly a technology with only upsides to the people who need it, with no downsides to the rest of us.

#Gboard #Accessibility #MorseCode
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The Coming Serverless Computing Startups

Serverless Computing is a new type of approach for developers, allowing them to focus on coding, while offloading their infrastructure needs for their apps and services to the cloud providers (Amazon, Google, etc...).

This is the next logical step in a process which began with dedicated Servers, evolved to Virtual Machines, and more recently has led to Containerization (e.g. Kubernetes), a sort of lightweight Virtual Machine (to oversimplify).

This inevitably disruptive transformation for developers, however, will not occur without a viable ecosystem to fill in the 'gaps' in the current model, such as tooling needs.

The need for such an ecosystem is liable to drive a new startup genre, just as Virtual Machines gave rise to companies like VMWare. More generally, the adoption of Serverless Computing will lower the barriers of entry to developers to launch and manage apps and services. As yet, however, this is but an emerging market.

#CloudComputing #Serverless #Startup
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Is Humanity Unprepared for the Rise of AI?

The question of whether humanity is properly prepared for the likely unprecedented transformation soon to be wrought on our world by the rise and spread of Artificial Intelligence, is by no means a new question.

The following article by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, however, takes on this issue from the perspective of how it may fundamentally change the manner by which humans understand the world, or rather, and more ominously, the likelihood that AI may close off many areas of understanding to humanity as its capacity to learn and understand outstrips its capacity to explain to humanity what it has learned and understood.

Even if this does not lead to AI becoming the Custodians of 'Our Knowledge' (which it will no longer be) of the nature and operations of reality, as it likely will if and when they begin to comprehend that which is beyond them to explain (or which we never even intended them to explain), it will almost certainly result in a gap of our knowledge of the AI's themselves, of what they know, how they reason about the world, and how they arrive at decisions. They are, after all, designed to exceed our capacities for these.

Furthermore, if AI is about learning, which is definitional to the technology, and if the great appeal of AI is to outstrip the human capacity for learning, then it must, too, almost surely outstrip us in making mistakes, both in frequency and in the scale of the damage wrought thereby. And if we don't even know what it is the AI is learning, and what it even means to learn artificially (since it almost surely is different from our type of learning in many ways), then we may only even know of these mistakes by their effects, and may not know what was truly mistake from what was intended (if undesirable) behavior.

For one race of beings to be surpassed in understanding reality by another race, has never ended well in the history of this planet. Just ask the Neanderthals (which, of course, you can't, for reason that they did not survive us).

Whatever your feelings about Mr. Kissinger politically, he understands like few people alive today understand just how tenuous a world order is in the face of new means of learning and organizing knowledge. Once upon a time, the Printed Word overthrew an entire world order. The AI Revolution is nearly certain to eclipse this in significance.

#AI #ArtificialIntelligence #MachineLearning
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Suggested Tech Collection: Everything Chrome OS

If you're like me, you love seeing high quality Tech Posts in your Google+ Stream, especially when it includes original content and insights by someone who knows whereof they speak. That's why today I'm recommending Following the Everything Chrome OS Collection by +JR Raphael. He's a tech journalists and columnist, who Shares and writes some really great stuff on the topic, and he's always open for a good discussion or civil debate about his ideas.

If you're interested in, or just curious, about Chrome OS, Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, Chromebits, and any other present or future Chrome devices, you'll probably really enjoy this Collection, as I do.

And, as I've said before about the creators of other Suggested Collections I've recommended, JR also Posts a lot of tech related stuff across multiple Collections, and other topics as well, so you may also consider just Following his Profile. You can always choose specific Collections to Unfollow later, if you're not into every topic he's into.

Enjoy!
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Skyrmion Reshuffler Brings Us Closer to Stochastic Computing Future

Stochastic computing is an exciting theoretical form of computation, whose value for highly miniaturized computing systems would be inestimable. Where in traditional computing, data is rendered as a fixed binary series (a precise sequence of 0's and 1's), stochastic computing instead depends on bitstreams of o's and 1's generated randomly at a p-value (a probability of finding a 1 or 0 at any point in the bitstream) equivalent to the input data.

The advantage here, is that whereas flipping a particular value in a traditional data stream would alter the data itself, the effect on a stochastic bitstream of sufficient length would be negligible. Such errors in traditional computing require error correcting code, which limits the capacity for maniaturization of a given computing system.

Skyrmions, a kind of tiny defect where a magnetic field is reversed, have been of considerable interest for this purpose, but although these quasiparticles are able to move freely in 2-Dimensions, approaches in stochasting computing to-date have been limited to using them in 1-Dimensional tracks, because of a curious flaw where two identical bitstreams can cause the computer to fail at arithmetic calculations. Enter the skyrmion reshuffler: by reshuffling the bitstream, while maintaining the original p-value, skyrmionics can now be theoretically utilized in all its God intended 2D glory, without failing at grade school mathematics.

#QuantumComputing #StochasticComputing #Skyrmionics
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Global Internet Infrastructure Could Revolutionize Seismology

Seismic detection equipment is expensive, and poorly distributed across land and sea, leaving us shockingly ignorant about where and how often seismic events, especially earthquakes, happen in the world. The infrastructure which enables the global internet, by comparison, is widely distributed on land and sea, but was of course never designed for seismology. If only they could be combined somehow? Perhaps they can.

The marriage of the two has, in fact, been long considered, and may now be closer than ever. A team of researchers from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences sent laser pulses through a 15 km stretch of fiber optic internet cable in Iceland and, by making various measurements, were able to use the pulses to reveal structural underground features, the equivalent of having high resolution equipment every 4-meters. They were even able to find a previously unidentified fault rift between the Eurasian and American tectonic plates.

Thus, with existing infrastructure and a bit of cleverness, the very technology which powers Netflix and Facebook, may well bring about a truly revolutionary new era in earthquake detection and the seismological sciences as well.

#DistributedComputing #Disruption #Seismology
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NASA: Kepler Space Telescope Running Low on Fuel

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, which for years has been capturing breathtaking and scientifically invaluable photos of the vast cosmos, lately via a jerryrigged maneuvering system, is at last running out of fuel, and has been put into temporary hibernation mode by the agency.

If all goes well during future reactivations, the telescope may yet enjoy a few more moments of telescopic glory, before being retired once and for all, and put out to the ultimate pasture of the heavens themselves.

Fortunately, a successor has already been launched, so there will be no great loss to humanity from this. Nonetheless, we are witnessing the end of an era.

#NASA #Kepler #SpaceScience
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Try Out More Than 100 Linux & Unix Distros Online

Fans of Linux- and Unix-based Operating Systems have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to choosing various OS's and OS 'flavors'. Testing them all, even by way of running them as Virtual Machines, would be a truly Herculean labor.

Fortunately, a service called DistroTest will now make this much easier. The service allows full and unrestricted access to and use of the Live versions over 100 Linux and Unix Distributions (Distros).

These require no download to or installation on the local device, and as already mentioned are without any artificial limits, granting users even the power to do a full wipe of the virtual hard drive if they wish it.

For those who just love to test Linux and Unix OS's for various reasons, this will be a godsend, and for those who are curious if Linux is right for them, this is a Zero Commitment way to try it in its myriad forms and potentially find the version that fits them best.

#Linux #Unix #Distro
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